Tuesday, December 19, 2023

The Thief's Story by Ruskin Bond Summary and Q&A Solved CBSE Class 10


1. Who does ‘I’ refer to in this story?

"I" refers to Hari Singh, a 15-year-old thief who encounters Anil and ends up struggling between his old habits and Anil's kind influence.

2. What is he “a fairly successful hand” at?

Hari Singh is a "fairly successful hand" at stealing. He has experience and manages to acquire things without getting caught for a while.

3. What does he get from Anil in return for his work?

Initially, Hari gets food and a place to sleep on Anil's balcony in exchange for helping with chores. Later, Anil offers to teach him cooking, writing, and arithmetic.

4. How does the thief think Anil will react to the theft?

Hari anticipates sadness rather than anger from Anil. He understands Anil's trusting nature and believes he will be more disappointed in the loss of trust than the money itself.

5. What does he say about the different reactions of people when they are robbed?

Hari mentions different reactions based on people's personalities:
Greedy men: show fear
Rich men: show anger
Poor men: show acceptance
He predicts Anil's unique reaction of sadness due to his trusting and compassionate nature.

6. Does Anil realize that he has been robbed?

Yes, Anil realizes he has been robbed. The text mentions that the next morning, he offers Hari a fifty-rupee note, which is still wet from the rain, indicating he knows Hari took the money.

7. How does Anil react to discovering the theft?

Despite knowing about the theft, Anil does not express anger or accusation. He simply offers Hari the stolen money as payment and proposes starting their writing lessons, suggesting forgiveness and a desire to continue their relationship.


1. What are Hari Singh’s reactions to the prospect of receiving an education? Do they change over time? (Hint: Compare, for example, the thought: “I knew that once I could write like an educated man there would be no limit to what I could achieve” with these later thoughts: “Whole sentences, I knew, could one day bring me more than a few hundred rupees. It was a simple matter to steal — and sometimes just as simple to be caught. But to be a really big man, a clever and respected man, was something else.”) What makes him return to Anil? 

Hari first sees learning as a way to get rich with fancy writing. But Anil shows him that words bring more than just rupees. They can open doors to knowledge, respect, and growth. This makes Hari want to learn for real, not just for money. After stealing from Anil, Hari feels bad and lonely. Seeing Anil's trust makes him want to be better, not like a thief anymore. He chooses to go back for a new start, leaving behind his old ways and choosing a brighter future with Anil's help.

2. Why does not Anil hand the thief over to the police? Do you think most people would have done so? In what ways is Anil different from such employers?

Anil didn't send Hari to the police for a few reasons. First, he believed in Hari's goodness and wanted to help him change, not punish him. Anil saw Hari's tough life and understood why he might have stolen. Instead of yelling, he offered Hari kindness and the chance to learn writing and cooking, giving him tools for a better future. Most people might have been scared or angry, but Anil chose forgiveness and hope. This makes Anil special because he had a big heart, believed in second chances, and wanted to see Hari grow and succeed. 


1. Do you think people like Anil and Hari Singh are found only in fiction, or are there such people in real life?

The characters like Anil and Hari Singh in "The Thief's Story" might seem to belong purely to the realm of fiction but their qualities can certainly be found in real life, though perhaps not in exactly the same way.

Anil's traits of immense compassion, unwavering belief in rehabilitation, and commitment to empowering others through education resonate with numerous real-life individuals and organizations. Social workers, educators, mentors, and community leaders often dedicate their lives to guiding individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds or difficult circumstances towards positive change. They offer support, opportunities, and second chances, believing in the potential within each person.

Hari Singh's journey of internal conflict, initial focus on personal gain shifting to appreciation for knowledge and self-improvement, and ultimate decision to embrace guidance also reflects stories of real people who have navigated challenging environments and made choices to break free from negative patterns. This process of transformation might not always involve a kind mentor like Anil, but can be driven by internal desires for a better life, exposure to positive influences, or access to educational and personal development opportunities.

2. Do you think it a significant detail in the story that Anil is a struggling writer? Does this explain his behaviour in any way?

The text doesn't explicitly draw a connection between Anil's writing and his behavior towards Hari but there are some subtle hints that suggest it might play a role:

Empathy and understanding: Writers, by nature, tend to be skilled observers of human behavior and possess a deep understanding of emotions and motivations. This could explain Anil's ability to see beyond Hari's criminal past and recognize his potential for good. He approaches Hari with compassion and understanding, perhaps akin to how he might develop fictional characters with complex backstories and potential for redemption.

Second chances and belief in potential: The writing profession itself often involves characters overcoming challenges, facing setbacks, and ultimately finding redemption or transformation. This inherent theme of second chances and belief in potential might translate into Anil's real-life interactions. He sees the possibility of a happier future for Hari, similar to how he might craft narratives where characters rewrite their destinies.

Focus on individual stories and personal growth: Writers often delve into the personal journeys of their characters, exploring their inner struggles and motivations. This focus on individual stories and personal growth might be reflected in Anil's engagement with Hari. He doesn't simply provide shelter and food, but invests in Hari's education and self-improvement, treating him as an individual with a unique story to tell.

Patience and hope: The creative process of writing often requires patience, perseverance, and unwavering hope. Even when faced with rejection or setbacks, writers continue to believe in their stories and strive for improvement. This could be another facet that connects to Anil's behavior. He doesn't give up on Hari even after the theft, offering him another chance and demonstrating unwavering faith in his ability to change.

These are just potential interpretations and the story doesn't provide definitive answers. However, the parallel between Anil's creative profession and his approach towards Hari adds a layer of depth and complexity to his character. By portraying him as a struggling writer, the author might be subtly influencing the reader's perception of his motivations and actions, suggesting that Anil's own life experience and artistic inclinations contribute to his unique compassion and belief in second chances.

3.  Have you met anyone like Hari Singh? Can you think and imagine the circumstances that can turn a fifteen-year-old boy into a thief? 

There are many complex factors that can contribute to a teenager turning to theft, often a combination of personal, social, and economic circumstances. Here are some possible situations that might nudge a 15-year-old boy towards such a dangerous path:

Poverty and lack of opportunities:

Financial hardship: Living in poverty can lead to desperation and the feeling that theft is the only way to meet basic needs like food and shelter.

Limited access to education or employment: Without options for legitimate income or social mobility, stealing might seem like the only way to gain some control over their situation.

Debt: Being burdened with debt from family or peers can create significant pressure to find money quickly, even if it means stealing.

Family and social environment:

Neglect or abuse: A lack of love, support, or positive role models at home can leave a teenager feeling isolated and vulnerable, increasing the risk of engaging in risky behaviors like theft.

Gang involvement: Peer pressure from older or delinquent friends can be powerful, making it difficult to resist criminal activities like theft.

Witnessing or experiencing crime: Growing up in a community with high crime rates can normalize criminal behavior and make it seem like a valid solution to problems.

Psychological and emotional factors:

Low self-esteem or feelings of hopelessness: Feeling worthless or like their future is bleak can lead to a sense of apathy and a lack of motivation to pursue legal ways to improve their lives.

Mental health issues: Undiagnosed or untreated mental health problems like depression, anxiety, or impulsivity can contribute to reckless decision-making and risky behaviors.

Seeking excitement or a sense of belonging: Theft can sometimes be motivated by a desire for thrills or a feeling of belonging to a group, especially if legitimate avenues for excitement or social connection are lacking.

4. Where is the story set? (You can get clues from the names of the persons and places mentioned in it.) Which language or languages are spoken in these places? Do you think the characters in the story spoke to each other in English?

The story's setting can be deduced from several clues:

Character names: "Anil" is a common name in India. "Hari Singh" also suggests an Indian origin, particularly North India.

Place names: The Jumna Sweet Shop suggests a location near the Jamuna River, which flows through Delhi.

Cultural details: The mention of wrestling matches, street life near a bazaar, and Anil borrowing and celebrating with money are consistent with everyday life in many Indian cities.

Therefore, the story is most likely set in Delhi, India.

The languages spoken in this area are predominantly Hindi and Punjabi, followed by English as a secondary language, especially in urban areas like Delhi. While the story doesn't explicitly mention the language used, it's most likely that the characters, including Anil and Hari Singh, primarily converse in Hindi. 

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